‘We Are Not Winning’ Counterterror War in Sahel, US Military Leader in Africa Says
Last week, 2,000 Western and African troops arrived in Burkina Faso for Flintlock, a large-scale annual US-led military exercise held in the African Sahel region. This year, the exercise is organized in Burkina Faso. Despite the cooperation of troops from Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Niger and Mauritania as part of the G5 Sahel Joint Force and support from the US and other Western governments, insurgent groups linked to al-Qaeda are increasingly terrorizing the region.
As the head of the US Special Operations Command Africa stated: “I would tell you at this time, we are not winning.” The US Ambassador to Burkino Faso confirmed that “[w]e’re in a tough fight, and the fight is getting harder.” While US Africa Command recently increased financial support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the US Department of Defense is actually planning to withdraw US forces from the region.